As far as China is doing Foreign Direct Investment to secure some resources, for instance in France with the Château Grand Moueys bought by the alcohol manufacturer Jin Chang Zang where 90% of the productions rejoin the Chinese market, when not directly doing land grabbing operations in Africa I was wondering if we were able to call China a new colonialist power, imperialist one or both?

I used the following definitions:

Colonization (or colonisation) is a process by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components.

Colonization refers strictly to migration, for example, to settler colonies in America or Australia, trading posts, and plantations, while colonialism to the existing indigenous peoples of styled "new territories". - Colonization page of Wikipedia 27/02/19

And :

Imperialism is policy or ideology of extending a nation's rule over foreign nations, often by military force or by gaining political and economic control of other areas.2 It was common around the world throughout recorded history, but diminishing in the late 20th century. In recent times, it has been considered morally reprehensible and prohibited by international law. Therefore, the term is used in international propaganda to denounce an opponent's foreign policy.[3]- Imperialism page of Wikipedia 27/02/19

  • Maybe you can add to your question the aggressive territorial claims assumesd by China for circa 10 years in the South China See : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Evargalo
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 9:49
  • 1
    Or simply extension of neo-libearlism en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man
    – mootmoot
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 10:23
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    China is using different forms of Expansionism. More specifically the phenomena coined by Sartre as Neocolonialism, that is, a type of dominance in the form of economic or cultural hegemony (see Belt and Road Initiative). In some of its affairs it has also used Jingoism as model.
    – armatita
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 12:35
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    Imperialistic with regards to Hong Kong and Taiwan. Colonialist regarding Nepal and Tibet. And neocolonialism in Africa and South America.
    – Icarian
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 14:16

4 Answers 4


Neither. It's definitly not colonization as this would by definition include bringing Chinese to those grabbed areas, not just owning and using them. It's also not imperialism as the grabbed land is not under Chinese law/rule. This Land is still under the rule of the nation it is in, so the term imperialism can't be applied here. Landgrabbing is a new phenomenon where classical declarations won't fit, as such methods did not exist back then.

Edit: I think of those terms, imperialism would fit better. The US-intervention in the middle east is sometimes refered as imperialism. They try to control all the oil they can. China thinks a step further. Oil is replacable by other sources of energy, food is not.


In this specific example, neither.

China is neither setting its own Chinese controlled political entity in French territory (colonialism), nor forcing the French government through the use or the threat of might to sell the Chateau to the Chinese government or a Chinese business.

There are some examples which are claimed to be examples of China acting as a neocolonial power (for example against Sri Lanka, on account of the difficulties of the Sri Lanka government to pay off its debts towards China), but the French example does not give China any actual leverage against the French government. It is not different than, say, the Norwegian Sovereign Fund buying Apple stocks, or Microsoft buying Navision.


Perhaps soft imperialism or soft colonialism, in the same way that the US projected it’s own power around the globe without directly colonising states. (Though it’s worth reminding ourselves just how many military bases it supported outside of the US mainland).

It’s definitely not like the hard imperialism or colonialism of both Western and Eastern Europe which directly co-opted polities east and west throughout the globe.


If you are in China or North Korea, probably not. Otherwise, I imagine you have the freedom of speech and can say China is whatever you want it to be.

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